How to Find State Grants for College

A college education is a tremendously expensive endeavor that few students can afford without some sort of financial assistance. When you consider that on average, a four-year college degree costs more than $20,000 per year at a private college, it’s easy to see why so many students are in need of financial assistance.

While in-state tuition at state colleges and universities is about half that much, the costs are still much higher than an average 18-year-old who just graduated from high school can hope to afford. Even students that come from upper class families can have difficulty funding their entire education, especially when you factor in the cost of tuition, fees, books and study materials, and room and board if the student is not living at home with mom and dad.

The problem becomes even greater if the student plans to attend an out of state college, an Ivy League college or wants to pursue further education. In fact, the additional education is a requirement for students who want to become doctors, lawyers or pursue some other career that requires more than a four-year degree.

Post Secondary Education Funding Options

While finding the money to fund a college education that will allow the student to pursue the career of his or her choice can be a challenge it is by no means impossible. There are college savings plans, scholarships, student loans and even grants that are specifically meant to fund post-secondary education.

A grant is usually a monetary gift to be used for a specific purpose and it generally does not need to be repaid. In the case of college funding, a grant would be a monetary gift to be used for the purpose of funding all or part of a college education. In some cases the terms of a grant for a college education may require some sort of service commitment upon completion of your education.

Grants for college funding typically come from a government entity, whether federal or state. People typically think of federal government grants such as the Pell Grant when thinking of sources for college money; but many don’t realize that most states also have grant programs which are funded by the state’s lottery. These state grants are created specifically to help the students who reside in that state.

Type of Grants

While grants are quite often funded by the government there are also grants that colleges and universities as well as both public and private companies and other organization’s fund. To find what’s available you’ll want to search for grants under a wide breadth of criteria including degree level, field of study, minority status, gender, income level, or some type of special needs classification.

College education grants are often awarded based upon financial need, rather than individual merit, and the competition can be fierce. However, there is also a lot of grant money available, making the effort of pursuing grant money quite worthwhile.

As a general rule, states provide educational support based upon financial need to a wide variety of students, including:

  1. Students pursuing a field of study that is considered to be in high need such as nursing or teaching are likely to find grants that are specific to their needs.
    These types of state grants often have a trade off similar to what we discussed above where in return for the grant money you agree to some sort of service commitment once you’ve earned your degree. In the case of nursing or teaching, upon completion of your education you agree to work for an understaffed state-run medical facility or for a school that is considered underserved. Nursing and teaching are just two examples of high-need occupations, there are others that vary based upon the state in which you reside.
  2. State-funded grants for minorities are pretty widely available, particularly for students of African American, Asian, Native American or Hispanic decent.
  3. Grant money for female students regardless of race or ethnic decent.
  4. Students who are considered low-income or otherwise disadvantaged are also likely to find help funding their college education with state-funded grants.

How to Locate the Grants Available In Your State

There’s no easy answer for finding the state grant money available. The funding and eligibility varies by state, as does which state government office is responsible for administering the grant awards. Below are a number of different possibilities to look into for information about state-funded college grants in your particular state.

  1. You can start with the state website, but you’re likely to get even further by placing a call to the particular department in your state that is most likely to be responsible for grant money. If the department you reach can’t help you, they should be able to point you in the right direction so you can speak to the correct people to get the information you need.
  2. On a state’s website look for links to education, board of education, social services, or a listing of state agencies that may identify the types of educational grants and application processes for your state.
    If you don’t know your state’s website address it’s almost always as simple as typing the name of your state into your search engine, or use your address bar to type in your state’s name.gov
  3. Use the search box that’s on your state’s website to more quickly locate information about college grants that may be available. Try searching for college grants, college grant money, education funding, college money, and other similar key words to see what you can find.
  4. It may take some time and digging through a wide variety of information, but you can find hidden resources that others who don’t take the time may miss. Obviously, the fewer people who know about a particular program the less fierce the competition and the better your odds are for receiving the grant money.

  5. If you’re still in high school, ask your guidance counselor, teachers or principal for guidance. They quite often get notification of grant programs so they can provide the information to the students who would benefit from being able to receive some state grant funds to help pay for college.
  6. Check with the financial aid office at the college or university that you attend or will be attending. They exist to assist with helping students to fund their education so they’ll be able to point you in the right direction for finding the grants in your state that you may qualify for as well as other types of financial aid sources.
  7. While this is a long shot, it’s worth a few minutes to check it out. Because many of the states grants are funded by proceeds from the state’s lottery, a good place to start looking is with your state’s lottery. Check out their website to see if they have a section that outlines how the funds are used.
  8. You can also do a general Internet search for state college grant money, however the results may be misleading and you’ll most likely need to move past the first several search results to get to information that is more than very general information.

As you’re glancing through the results, you may want to pay special attention to website address that end in .gov which are most likely a government page that will have information about government grant sources; or pages that end in .edu which may be colleges and universities that are providing students with some specific information about how to find grants that are specific to that school.

Other Grants Available Within Your State

In addition to grants that are funded by your state’s government, there are more than likely other types of grants that are available to college students who are in your state. County and local governments in many areas also have programs to provide assistance to students that reside within their borders. You can find out about these sorts of programs by following the suggestions provided for learning about state funding options.

For example, look into the state’s major companies to see if they have a grant or other college funding program. Many companies see tremendous value in investing in the education of future leaders and therefore have college funding programs including scholarships, trusts and grants. Typically, the more vested interest the company has in the state and its residents, the more likely they are to have programs to support the education of its residents. These programs may also have a service commitment, where you’d be required to work for the company for a set amount of time once you’ve completed your education.

There are also colleges that have co-op programs where you can work within your field of study while you’re attending school. And, depending upon the employer, you may receive some tuition reimbursement benefits as well which will help to fund your education and earning your degree. These types of programs are most often available in engineering, technology, and science based programs. Your guidance counselor and or financial aid office should be able to provide you with information about any of these types of programs that may be available in your area.

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46 Comments on “How to Find State Grants for College”

  1. Ayesha Shakir Says:

    Please let me know how I can apply for grants and scholarships. Thank you.
    Sincerely,
    Ayesha Shakir

  2. Monica Wetzler Says:

    I am a part-time working student and am looking for a grant to help me attend Illinois State University. My parents have average income but we are not able to afford such a wonderful school. It has been my dream to attend there and with such a rough economy there’s no way we will be able to afford such a wonderful school. I hope you will be able to help me.
    Thank You,
    Monica

  3. Ian Nickerson Says:

    I am a 39 year old husband and father of three who is returning to school after 16 years.

    I am in need of financial aid in order to attend Abilene Christian University starting in the spring of 2012. Any guidance you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanking you in advanced,

    Ian

  4. Tresor-lei McMillan Says:

    I am a freshmen in college and don’t have enough money to buy my books and pay for all of my tution. I don’t know what I’m doing and would like to recieve help for grants and scholarships.
    Thank you.

  5. mark wilmot Says:

    I am 42 years old, and have to admit. I dont know what I am doing or how to go about this! Please help!!!!!

  6. Michaela Prowell Says:

    I am starting early in looking ofr grants and scholarships I am a Highschool senior and I really need help.

  7. Anthony Says:

    Hello, my name is anthony williams and i love school, always have… i am currently not attending school for the fear of not being able to pay of a student loan.

    we all know how bad the economy is and life without your parents help is no easy task, nearly makes it impposible to save money for anything other than bills, food, and gas…. please help :)

  8. Savannah Says:

    I need help looking for help in finding grants and scholarships! I am a senior in highschool! Help is extremely needed!

  9. Ana Says:

    Good Day,
    I have recently graduated from medical school. I am preparing myself to take the boeard examinations. It is a tough process considering the application for residency, the cost of the boeard exams and the burden of my mother’s savings. I am looking for guidance on what will be the best approach (scholarships, grants or loans) that fit my description.
    Thank you!

  10. Bella Says:

    To whom this may concern:
    I am enrolling in college to recieve my bachlor’s degree in biology so that I can go to pharmacy school to become a pharmacist. I have never been college for I grew up in a religious environment and we only went to high school and now that I am 33 years old I have to start from the basics. I need financial help and grants so that I can achieve my goals with much thanks
    Bella

  11. shaina Says:

    I am interested in completing my ba program in computer science after 4 years and 83 credits, I have exhausted my financial aid, but I am in the midst of transferring to a better university so that my degree can be more accredited. I am a first generation college student and just found out I am expecting my first child may next year. I just want to complete my goal of graduating college by 22, now it will be 23, so that I can feel good about myself and be an idependent woman and role model to my peers.

  12. Amanda Amborn Says:

    I am going to be going to school on line and i was denied for financial aid cause of my parents income. I have not lived with them since i was 16 (Im 22 now) and they dont not support me in any way shape or form. how can i find a grant to help me through school?????

  13. Tabitha Says:

    hello i am a full time student and i am working full time. i do not receieve any financial support from my parents. they refuse to help me pay for school. even though my mom is currently out of work yet i am not approved for financial aid. with the money i do get i have to help support my family and at the end i just do not have enough to go to school. my g.p.a is currently a 4.0 do you know of any grants that can help me?

  14. Zacaria D Bailey Says:

    Please email me information on how to apply and what options are available for me.

    Thank You

  15. Heather HIll Says:

    I am the mother of 4 teenagers. I am in need of assistance when it comes to funding for college. 2 of the 4 children are my natural children and 2 we adopted. Regardless, everyone needs an education. My sons will be the first to attend college on my husbands side of the family and the 4th generation born in this county. I believe there must be something out there that will help. Please send any information that might be of help with my endeaver.
    Thank you!
    Heather H.

  16. Asia Williams Says:

    Hi my name is Asia. please email me all information concerning michigan /state grants. asia_bizlife@yahoo.com Thank you!!

  17. Nikita Patterson Says:

    can you please email me on how to apply for college grants

  18. Kevin Says:

    Hi, I am the mother of two teens. I am from Spain and my ex-husband is American. My kids have 2 nationality since I am from Spain. My ex- is a disable veteran from Persian gulf Ward. I just find out that my kids would not qualified for any assistance even though the dad is disable. What a shame!!!! My kids grow up with an ill dad. Never have the opportunity to enjoy anything or going to places with him. Now, they are not allow to have an education neither because the VA do not want to help my kids. Is that the way the government help the Disable veteran and their dependents?

    After Veteran risk their life for the free down and peace of citizen, is that the price my kids need to pay????????

  19. josh Says:

    Hi,I’m 21 years old and I am applying for a program called SELCAT it’s a lineman school that helps you get ur journeyman licience to be a liineman. I was woundering if there is a grant that will help me go back to school and help me pay for books and gear and housing intell i get a job

  20. kristina Says:

    HI, I AM A MOTHER OF A WONDERFUL HARD WORKING DAUGHTER WHO WANTS TO BECOME A PSYCHOLOGIST AND BEEN EXCEPTED AT asu starting this august2012. I really would love to have help with this i am a single mom .both of my grandparents are buried at the va berial site in new york and grandpa was a prisoner who survived and was captured in world war 2. william jew was his name. i am sure he would be so so happy if you could help his great granddaughter out with some college funds.
    thank you so much, Sue feel free email me at susielear2@aol.com

  21. Jacklyn Pugh Says:

    I am a 26 year old single mother who was just let go from my job. I have a 3 year old son who I am trying to provide for and I am just looking for some sort of assistance to better our lives. I don’t want to have to struggle for the rest of my life and I want my son to live comfortably. If ther is anything that could assist with me going back to school I would appreciate it. Thank you.

  22. Debbie Oliver Says:

    I am going to college for the first time and I would like to found more grants to help pay for the things I need for college.I am going after my AS degree for Business.

  23. salvador Cuevas Says:

    Hi I’m a husband and father of three and I’m looking for help I just stop attending classes at Metropolitan State University of Denver, because financial issues, my goal is become a Oral-Maxilofacial Surgeon, I’m following my dream since I was in my country Mexico.
    Thank you for your help.

  24. BenG Says:

    I am going to college and need to find grants in the state of Pennsylvania to help me pay for my education in Network administration
    Thank you,
    Ben

  25. Alondra Says:

    Hi my name is Alondra am going to college and I will need help paying for my tuition as well as my books im a single parent and will like to know if there is any chance I could get some help qualifying for grants.please email me back alondrachacon75@yahoo.com

  26. jose Says:

    Hi I’m attending NTMA its a school for machinists I love working with my hands but I’m struggling to pay my bills an to fix my truck I’m getting very lil hours please I need HELP!!! its my first time where I’m really excited about school I just want a better life for me an my future family

  27. Marvin Stringfellow Says:

    Hi I was recently released from prison I need grant money for college. I have a GED with a score of 2610 average score of 522. I received my GED in 2008. thank you

    Marvin Stringfellow

  28. Philip Wiggins Says:

    I am a 19 year old trying to get his college career started. My dream is to be a high school guidance counselor. Why?
    Well… It’s because life is hard. Life was hard for me, born half-blind (left eye) Mother passed at age 5, and dad…just over a year ago. I am not here to tell you the saddest parts of my life. I am here to say that I need your help. Because I don’t want to see kids who may have it as bad if not worse than me, go without help. Everyone needs someone to turn to, and sometimes. they have no one. And for those who have no one, I want to be that someone. I wish to help everyone I can in life. So many people have helped me, and I want to pay it forward till the day that I die. It doesn’t matter how bad I’ve had it. It matters how good I can make it for someone else.

    This world is tough. No one should go it alone.

    Please help me so that I may help others.
    I wish to enroll in AACC this winter.

  29. Ryan Sylvia Says:

    Hi. My name is Ryan and I’m currently a full time student and work 20-30 hours a week. It takes a toll on my school work because I don’t have money for school. I would like to receive financial aid to help me pay for my schooling, and make me less stressed. Please help. I would also like more information of where else I can apply. Thank you.

  30. Monica Says:

    I am 55, with a master’s degree in Public Administration and is unable to get a job. I am now seeking to get further education but cannot afford it. Can you assist me in getting the needed grant and or loan to pursue a course as a RN beginning Spring 2012 eorgia Perimeter College the state of Georgia?

  31. Marissa Gilbert Says:

    I am 20 year old female about to start the HVAC program in Janurary. The college does not accept student loans, I do not qualify for The Pell Grant, and I can not recive the Wilder Neifer Scholarship because I recived the Hope Scholarship when I graduated high school. Heating Ventillation and Air Conditioning is a growing field and I am really looking foward to starting the steps to my career. Please contact me, I appreciate your time.

  32. kevin Says:

    Everytime, I go to some website for grant information they, say they will send if I only send a small fee. I do not have a small fee. i have worked as a para-legal for 15 yrs and i want to go back to school and take something in the medical field.And I do not want student loans beacuse, it took me 20 yrs to pay off my first student loan can you help me? I’m in the state of Minnesota.

  33. Devon Curtis Says:

    **PLEASE HELP** My financial aid was not enough to cover my tuition and I don’t make enough at my part-time job. I need grant in order to avoid having to drop out of school. I am in Wisconsin. Thank you

  34. Kathleen Killion Says:

    Hello I am seeking to go to Portland Community College for phlebotomy courses and the program fees are 2600.00 that needs to paid in full before April 1 2013. I am single Mom age 45 years old with hearing impairment working full time but not a steady income to help succeed my goals. God Bless.

  35. Doris Chambers Says:

    Hello, I am a single parent/grandparent. Returned to school using Financial Aide, but now I need to finish what I have started and need more financial help to do so. I have raised my 3 biological sons and 6 adopted children and 1 more to go. I am currently attending Benedictine University, psy/soc major/minor, however, if I don’t find some extra finances I will have to stop. I appreciate any help you can help me with. Thank you.

  36. John Says:

    I am a 39 year old electrician with four kids. I made $45K last year. I am trying to take some online classes to get into alternative energy installations. The program is only $4000, but my unemployment counsellor informed me today that the funding available was cut in half last week.

    Apparently the program I am interested is not eligible for Pell grants because it is a professional certification.

    I would be very grateful for information that could help me get my tuition paid for.

  37. Barbara Says:

    Im 18 going to be graduating h.s in may of 2013. Im a single teen mom and every time i try to apply for a scholar ship or grant it doesn’t work. I’m going to be attending The Art Institute of Minnesota for baking and pastry. Please help and contact back at sammiisd_14@hotmail.com thanks

  38. Scotty Thomas Jr. Says:

    I’m an 17 year old senior on my out of High School. My mother is on disablity (Cronic Kidney Disease) and I’m in need of help for a grant that will help pay for College. Could you point me in the right direction?

    Thank you,

    Scotty Thomas Jr.

  39. Jokasty Says:

    My daughter have seven yrs old so I’m looking for grants for left handed ppl.May be if U look now I’ll be seasey for us at the time she have to go to collage (Penssylvania)

  40. christie Montgomery Says:

    I am the mother of 3 kids. my husband and I are a middle class family housekeeper and mechanic and we make too much money to qualify for grants and scholarships but we don’t make enough to pay for two kids to go to college. We live very frugal and not beyond our means but paying 35K a year for two kids to go to college is not easy. I hate for them to be up to their eyeballs in college debt yet I want them to have a better life than we do. I am searching for scholarships and grants to help both my son and daughter have the opportunity to go to college. Is there anything out there for the middle class?
    sincerely,
    christie Montgomery

  41. Jasmine Barber Says:

    I am a full-time College student who is trying to pay for my classes without dropping out of school

  42. Michael Morris Says:

    I am 18 years of age. I will be attending County College of Morris starting in the Fall of 2013. I need funding for school and have been talking to people on where and how to apply for student grants within NJ.

    Can someone please call me at: 973-945-8871 with information.

    Thank you in advance,

    Michael

  43. elizabeth enneper Says:

    please send me info on native American grants and Wisconsin state grants.

  44. Cortez Hill Says:

    I am look fo grants and or scholarship for trade schools. Nedd some help

  45. Tarrell Says:

    I live in the State of Mississipi and need help to continue my education.

  46. jade cepeda Says:

    Im currently an early high school graduate and am planning on continuing my education. Id like help finding some kind of scholarship or grant to help me pay instead of getting out a student loan.

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